Tag Archives: Oklahoma City Thunder

NBA Finals Rematch

After a Game Six blowout and a Game Six overtime victory, the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs are in the NBA Finals for a second straight year. The Heat defeated the Indiana Pacers 117-92 last Friday behind LeBron James and his 25 points and 6 assists. The Spurs will make the NBA Finals in back-to-back seasons for the first time in franchise history after beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 112-107 in overtime. Tim Duncan had 19 points and 15 rebounds in the Western Conference Finals win. He had to step up his game after point guard Tony Parker went down in the third quarter with an ankle injury. He hopes to return to action in the NBA Finals, a series of games he just can’t miss.

The Thunder had a great run this year. Kevin Durant won his first MVP and Russell Westbrook played beautifully for most of the postseason. His 34 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds and 6 steals in the losing effort showed that he played well. However, his 7 turnovers proved otherwise. Westbrook missed a lot of big shots and took a lot of big shots, but he just could not help Durant get back to the NBA Finals.

As for the Pacers, Lance Stephenson’s unorthodox defensive methods were not enough as he just could not contain “The King.” James had his way with him and now Stephenson, Paul George, Roy Hibbert and the rest of the Pacers will have to wait their turn next year after losing to the Heat three straight times in the NBA playoffs. Head Coach Frank Vogel is expected to return and hopefully his team can be more prepared for the Heat next season.

Last year, the Heat defeated the Spurs 95-88 in Game Seven on the NBA Finals to win their second straight title. This year, they are looking at a three-peat, joining the likes of Boston, Chicago and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Spurs will be looking for revenge. Duncan is hoping to win one last championship before he retires as a Hall of Famer. He has proved to be one of the best power forwards to ever play the game, but with another title at his grasp, he just can’t help but try to win one more. With Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Boris Diaw and Kawhi Leonard stepping up, this Spurs team could prove to be more trouble for the Heat than last year. This will be the series to truly determine who the best team in the NBA is. The Spurs are known to get a lot of productivity from their bench players. The Heat are going to have to do the same if they want that third straight title. Tune in this Thursday at 9 p.m. on ABC to watch Game One of the NBA Finals.


Christian Athlete of the Week: Serge Ibaka

Serge Ibaka has returned from his calf injury and played great in last Sunday’s win over the San Antonio Spurs. In his first game back from injury, Ibaka had 15 points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocks. It just goes to show you how much of a difference he can make when he’s out on the court. This season, he averaged 15.1 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.7 blocks a game. Here’s the amazing thing about that: he’s only 24 years old and has played in the NBA for four years! Ibaka is already proving that he is one of the best power forwards in the NBA. His teammates and fans have nicknamed him Serge “Iblocka” for his tremendous effort on defense. When superstars like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook take over on offense, Ibaka takes over on defense and helps anchor his Oklahoma City Thunder team. But who is Serge Ibaka really? Well let’s take a look at his history.

Ibaka was born in the Republic of Congo and is the third-youngest of 18 children. Both his mother and his father played basketball for the country of Congo and it is safe to say that Ibaka has inherited their athletic gifts. He also plays for the Spanish national team and is fluent in five languages (Lingala, French, Spanish, Catalan and English). Having played on the Republic of Congo youth team, he is also one of three players to play for two national teams ( the other two are Roy Hibbert and Charlie Villanueva). In 2008, he was selected 24th overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder, becoming the first player from the Republic of Congo to get drafted by an NBA team. From there, he has been a dominant force on defense in the NBA. He is well known internationally as well for his role in the Olympic Games in 2012 and winning the gold medal in the FIBA European Championship in 2011 for Spain.

As for his religious beliefs, Ibaka is a Christian and began learning more about Christ ever since he moved to the United States. Recently, he’s been reading the Bible daily and having a teammate like Kevin Durant has been very beneficial to his spiritual walk. Ibaka tends to not associate with the public media and outwardly express his faith, but he is known to make a gesture to God after a big play in a game by making the cross symbol on his chest and pointing to the heavens. He can also be a great international ambassador for Christ. With him speaking five languages, he can be the ultimate missionary! He already works with UNICEF in helping child development all around the world. Ibaka has also pledged $315,000 to the “UNICEF Gets Boys and Girls in the Game” project for the renovation and expansion of two orphanages in Brazzaville, Congo. Ibaka, whose home country is the Congo, has also pledged a donation of $500 for every blocked shot he records during the 2014 NBA Playoffs. He is truly a man after God’s heart and hopes to make a difference around the world.

NBA Conference Finals are Set

Four teams punched their tickets to the NBA Conference Finals and all four teams are the top two seeds in their conference. It will truly be a test to see who the best team in the West and the East really are. First, let’s see how each team got there.

The Miami Heat were expected to make it this far, after sweeping the Charlotte Bobcats and finished off the Brooklyn Nets in five games. Ray Allen knocked down the go-ahead 3-pointer with 32 seconds left in Game 5 to advance the Heat to the Eastern Conference Finals with a 96-94 victory.  LeBron James has been a dominant force in the playoffs, averaging 30 points a game. The Heat is looking for a three-peat, but they will first have to handle the Indiana Pacers.

The Pacers have struggled throughout the playoffs, and many thought they wouldn’t make it this far after their poor performance against the Washington Wizards. This team has had trouble rebounding and boxing out. Indiana had to go all the way to Game Seven with the Atlanta Hawks (a team with a losing record), but they finally ended up beating the Wizards last night 93-80 in Game Six. Roy Hibbert has not been the same player he was during the regular season. He averaged 10.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game and now during the postseason, he is averaging 8.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. He has also gone three games without scoring a single point (two against the Hawks and one against the Wizards in Game One). If Hibbert can play consistently against the Heat and have games like he did in Game Two against the Wizards where he had 28 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks, then the Pacers might have a chance.

Paul George has played consistently well in the playoffs, averaging 21.9 points and 8.7 rebounds a game. Credit: indystar.com
Paul George has played consistently well in the playoffs, averaging 21.9 points and 8.7 rebounds a game.
Credit: indystar.com

As for the San Antonio Spurs, the one-seed out in the West is not having too much difficulty getting to where they are now. They did have to go to Game Seven against the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, but they were able to close out and move on to the Portland Trail Blazers. Against Portland, the Spurs defeated them in five games and all five wins were dominant victories. They closed out on a 104-82 blow out on the Trail Blazers last Wednesday. Coach of the Year Gregg Popovich has this team right where it needs to be and they have been playing great basketball lately. The only concern is the injury status of Tony Parker. The veteran point guard has a tight hamstring that might limit his mobility, but he says that he is ready to go. Small forward Kawhi Leonard has really stepped up for this team. He is one of the youngest players on the roster and he has made a big difference. During the regular season, Leonard averaged 12.8 points and 6.2 rebounds a game. In the postseason, Leonard has averaged 14 points and 7.5 rebounds a game. His performance is the X-Factor when the Spurs take on the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals.

Speaking of the Thunder, they have had a roller-coaster ride of a postseason. They have had the strongest playoff schedule out of any of the teams. First, they took out the Memphis Grizzlies in seven games after being down 2-1. Then they just recently beat the L.A. Clippers in Game Six 104-98, after through tough matches with them. After that win, they will advance to the Western Conference Finals for the third time in the last four years. Kevin Durant has arguably been the best player in the postseason, leading all players with 31.4 points a game and capping off the Game Six victory over the Clippers with an amazing performance of 39 points, 16 rebounds and 5 assists. He also has six double-doubles this postseason, showing that he has been carrying this team on his back and lifting them up game after game. Teammate Russell Westbrook has been a game-changer this entire postseason. When he plays well, the Thunder win. When he doesn’t play well, they don’t win. Oklahoma City has to rely on both Durant and Westbrook to bring their best against San Antonio. While Durant has had double-doubles, Westbrook has had triple-doubles. His first one came in a losing effort against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Five on the first round of the playoffs. Then his Game Seven performance against them was historic, with 27 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds. His best game to date was in Game Two against the L.A. Clippers where he had 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. If Westbrook can play consistently well, the Thunder could go very far. They have already swept the Spurs during the regular season and have played well against them in recent years.

Kevin Durant will have to keep his scoring pace going as the MVP takes on the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. Credit: nba.si.com
Kevin Durant will have to keep his scoring pace going as the MVP takes on the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.
Credit: nba.si.com

The Eastern Conference Finals will be played first on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. The Indiana Pacers will host the Miami Heat for the first game of the series. Then on Monday, the San Antonio Spurs will host the Oklahoma City Thunder at 9 p.m. for the first game of that series. These games are must-see NBA playoff T.V. It’s the four best teams of the NBA squaring off and you just can’t miss it!

Kevin Durant Wins the NBA MVP

This year, the MVP race came down to two players: Kevin Durant and LeBron James. Durant emerged victorious, winning his first NBA MVP award. He also becomes the first player to win the NBA MVP and be the NBA’s leading scorer in the same season since Allen Iverson did it back in 2000-01. The 25-year-old small forward put up some big numbers for his Oklahoma City Thunder team, racking up 32 points, 5.5 assists and 7.4 rebounds per game this year. His 2,593 points scored this season is a career-high for him and he also led the Thunder to a 59-23 regular season record. I couldn’t be happier for this kind of player. This season was tremendous for the young star and hopefully he could top it off with an NBA championship title. I’m sure that he is more focused on this series with the L.A. Clippers, but for now he just has to enjoy this sweet moment. Congratulations Kevin Durant. You earned it. The Thunder will host the Clippers for Game Two at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday night.

Five Game Sevens

NBA history was made last Saturday when three Game Seven NBA playoff games were played on the same day. After today’s Game Sevens, the NBA postseason can move on to the second round: the conference semifinals. One of the biggest stories was the Washington Wizards advancing to the next round over the Chicago Bulls, winning their first playoff series since 2005 where they also beat the Chicago Bulls. This year, the Wizards defeated the Bulls’ squad 4-1 and were led by a young back court featuring John Wall and Bradley Beal. Wall has been great for this young and talented squad, he is 5th in both assists and steals per game this postseason. As for Bradley Beal, he averaged almost 20 points per game against the Bulls, including a game where he scored 26 points and pulled down 7 rebounds to help put the Wizards up 2-0 in the series. Speaking as a guy that was born in D.C., I can say that I am excited for their match-up with the 1-seed Indiana Pacers Monday night at 7 p.m.

John Wall averaged 18.8 points, 6.8 assists and 2.2 steals in the series win over the Chicago Bulls. Credit: www.rantsports.com
John Wall averaged 18.8 points, 6.8 assists and 2.2 steals in the series win over the Chicago Bulls.
Credit: http://www.rantsports.com

As for the Oklahoma City Thunder, they finished out in fashion with a 120-109 rout over the Memphis Grizzlies in their Game 7 finale.  Kevin Durant may not have had the field goal percentage that he was looking for, but he is still putting up points this postseason with 29.9 per game so far. Then there is Russell Westbrook. Some people have judged him and saying that he was the problem with the Thunder’s struggles to close out. I was one of those people. Now, my confidence is regained in Westbrook after putting up a triple-double in the last game against Memphis. The young point guard finished the bout with 27 points, a career-high 16 assists and 10 rebounds. Westbrook also became just the second player in NBA history to record a triple-double in a Game 7 (Rajon Rondo did it first). Sure the Thunder were able to win without the Grizzlies’ top player Zach Randolph, but hey, a win is a win. Durant and Westbrook combined for 60 points and Oklahoma City shot 60.9 percent from the field as a team. Now they will have to put up those kind of numbers when they play the L.A. Clippers Monday night at 9:30 p.m. That should be an exciting series as well.

Kevin Durant took over the series against Memphis by averaging 29.9 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.6 blocks per game. Credit: www.usatoday.com
Kevin Durant took over the series against Memphis by averaging 29.9 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.6 blocks per game.
Credit: http://www.usatoday.com

I was disappointed in the Houston Rockets this year. They had a lot of talent in James Harden and Dwight Howard, but they just couldn’t make it work against the Portland Trail Blazers. LaMarcus Aldridge and company closed out the series 4-2 when Damian Lillard knocked down a three-pointer at the buzzer (thanks to some horrible defense by Houston’s Chandler Parsons) to win the game 99-98. Lillard became the first player since John Stockton in 1997 to knock down the game-winning shot to win a series. You have to give a lot of props to last year’s Rookie-of-the-Year for being the big play-maker at point guard. As for Aldridge, he put up monster numbers in this series against Houston. He had back-to-back 40 point games in the first two games of the series (46 and 43 respectively). Then in the next two games, he recorded consecutive double-doubles and then in Game 6, he scored 30 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. He is third in the postseason in points per game with 29.8. LeBron James leads the postseason with 30 per game.

Lastly, there was San Antonio knocking off the Dallas Mavericks 119-96 and the Brooklyn Nets defeating the Toronto Raptors 104-103 in an overall thrilling series. Brooklyn will face the Miami Heat Tuesday at 7 p.m. while the Spurs will battle the Trail Blazers the same night at 9:30 p.m. The first round of the NBA playoffs was something to behold. A lot of Game Sevens and a whole lot of fun. This second round will prove to be more exciting with teams starting to lock on to that championship.

NBA Regular Season Closing Shop

The NBA regular season is drawing to a close soon with April 16th being the last day and the last chance for NBA teams to fight for playoff position. So far, the Western Conference is looking dominant while the Eastern Conference has only the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers to worry about. I’ll throw in the Toronto Raptors in there as well since they have had a surprisingly well season and the Chicago Bulls are keeping pace without Derrick Rose. As of right now, the Western Conference has nine teams with winning records while the East has only six. Let’s look at some of the recent stories that has been happening in the NBA so far.

Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder put an end to the San Antonio Spurs’ winning streak last night with a 106-94 victory. The Spurs had won 19 games prior to this defeat and Kevin Durant continued his own streak of 39 games with 25 points or more. We have not seen scoring outbursts like this since Michael Jordan did it back in 1986-1987 when he went 40 straight games. This win also proved Oklahoma City’s dominance in the West. With the win, they swept the San Antonio Spurs in their regular season match-ups. There are just eight games left for the Thunder this season, so they can easily catch up to the Spurs for the best in the West. Oklahoma City is only three games behind the Spurs for the 1-seed in the playoffs, so watch out for that as the season rolls along.

The teams with the longest winning streak as of right now are the Miami Heat and the Portland Trail Blazers with four wins in a row. The Heat are coming off a blowout win against the Milwaukee Buck 96-77 without Ray Allen and Dwyane Wade. LeBron James had about average numbers: 17 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds. However, the Miami Heat won their 30th game at home this season, marking the seventh time in franchise history that they have won that many. As for the Portland Trail Blazers, they defeated the L.A. Lakers 124-112 last Tuesday. Lamarcus Aldridge went off in that victory with 31 points, 15 rebounds and 6 assists. Nick Young of the Lakers went off as well, scoring 40 points in the losing effort. With his contract expiring after this season, he will be looking for a team that will better utilize his talents. Going back to the Trail Blazers, point guard Damian Lillard became the first player in franchise history to make 200 3-pointers in a season when he connected with 8:07 left in the first quarter. With him and Aldridge running the show in Portland, look for them to make a deep run in the playoffs as a 5-seed behind Houston.

Dirk Nowitzki has the Dallas Mavericks moving in the right direction after a critical win against the Los Angeles Clippers. Credit: bleacherreport.com
Dirk Nowitzki has the Dallas Mavericks moving in the right direction after a critical win against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Credit: bleacherreport.com

Another Western Conference match-up that was intriguing last night was the Dallas Mavericks and the L.A. Clippers. Despite Blake Griffin pulling off his first triple-double of the season and his fourth of his career (25 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists), the Mavericks defeated the Clippers 113-107 behind Dirk Nowitzki’s 26 points and 11 rebounds. The ageless wonder shot 10-18 from the field and nailed 4 out of 7 three-pointers. This win helped Dallas move into a 7-seed in the Western Conference playoffs ahead of the 44-31 Memphis Grizzlies. The Mavs avoided getting swept by the Clippers for the first time since 1993-94 and will use that momentum to carry them for the rest of the regular season. Even with the loss, the Clippers still retain the 3-seed with an impressive 54-23 record.

I’m sure more great games will follow as the regular season dwindles down. Players might go off for amazing scoring outbursts and teams might find a way to sneak into the playoffs (like what the Washington Wizards and the Charlotte Bobcats are doing right now). Keep watching the NBA, because things are going to get interesting very soon.

Christian Athlete of the Week: Caron Butler

Caron Butler has been known to be a journeyman in the NBA. He has played for seven different NBA teams since being selected as the 10th overall pick by the Miami Heat in 2002. Butler now plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder after playing for the Milwaukee Bucks earlier this year. Despite moving from team to team, the small forward from the University of Connecticut has averaged 15.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in his career. However, Butler’s journey before he played basketball is more amazing in itself. As a small boy living in Racine, Wisconsin, Butler looked up to his two uncles. His mother was a single parent and was working two jobs at the time and so his uncles were the only father figures he had around at the time, but they were not exactly good examples. Both were drug dealers and got their nephew into the business when he was only 11 years old. From there, Butler got arrested 15 times before he turned 15. While he was serving his last sentence at a juvenile institution, Butler fell in love with two things: basketball and Jesus Christ.

“My grandmother told me to pick up a bible and just believe in God,” he said. “God can hinder all obstacles that you’re going through. And my mother staying in my corner, because a lot of parents, when kids fail, give up on them. A lot of the people that I was incarcerated with didn’t have visitors, but my mother was always there, sometimes twice a day, uplifting my spirits and telling me to stay positive. And I think that really showed me how much she cared and believed in me. She believed in me more than I believed in myself.” (Credit: insidehoops.com)

Butler went on to say that basketball was his ticket out to living on the streets. He started playing so well that he got noticed by Jim Calhoun of the UConn Huskies. In his freshman year, he led his team in both points and rebounds. Then in his sophomore season, he was named co-Big East Player of the Year. Butler was able to accomplish all of these tasks by making God the father-figure in his life that he desperately needed.

“God puts stuff in front of you for a reason,” he said. “He put His hands on my life and said, ‘I’m going to touch you so that you can touch others.”

And he has. Butler donated $200,000 to four local charities in his hometown of Racine back in 2012. He also created a youth basketball league to show other kids that basketball can get you out of the life of a drug dealer. God has shown through Caron Butler’s life that he can take anyone off the streets and make them into a great example of God’s grace and mercy.

Christian Athlete of the Week: Kevin Durant

The talk of the NBA right now is Oklahoma City Thunder star, Kevin Durant. The small forward out of Texas University has been on fire lately, especially after that big win last Wednesday night at Miami. Durant helped take down LeBron James and the Heat with his 12th straight game of scoring 30 points or more. He finished the showdown with 33 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals in a 112-95 victory. Many thought that his scoring streak would come to an end after suffering that injury at San Antonio on January 22nd, but on his first game back at Philadelphia, he recorded his second triple-double of the season with 32 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists. Speaking of assists, his per game average has gone up since last year, which is helping out the Thunder’s offense tremendously to now nine straight wins! Not only is Durant unselfish on the court, but he is also unselfish off the court. Last summer, Durant’s charity foundation donated $150,000 to three different youth organizations at his home in Prince George county in Maryland. They were the programs that helped Durant develop into a great basketball player and he just simply gave back to the people who affected him in a positive way. Not only that, but in that same summer, he also donated $1 million to the regional Red Cross relief efforts in Oklahoma after the devastating tornado damage took place last May. He also got Nike involved to donate $1 million worth of apparel to the residents affected by the storms. It’s this kind of stewardship that Christians should be more involved in. Giving back to communities is one way of reaching out to other people so that they could know Christ. God gave His one and only Son for our sins to show others that we need to make sacrifices to help each other out. Durant is a great example of a Christian man using what God has provided for him to help others in need. I loved his quote in the postgame interview at the end of the Miami Heat game the other night. Doris Burke of ESPN asked him what has driven him to get this scoring streak going and he simply said, “God. My Lord Jesus Christ. That’s it,” and he walked away. A man with such humility is someone worth watching as the NBA season gets deeper and deeper. That is why the Durantula is the Christian Athlete of the Week.

The Durantula Lighting It Up

As I have said in my previous post, Kevin Durant is my favorite player in the NBA. So to hear the swish in the net from all of his made shots during this stretch of greatness is just sweet music to my ears. Durant’s 54 point game was just the beginning. After Wednesday night’s win over the San Antonio Spurs, the D.C. native has gone nine consecutive games where he has scored 30 points or more. He is currently averaging 37 points per game during the month of January. And these magical performances have been helping the team out as well. After this win against the Spurs, the Oklahoma City Thunder have won five in a row and are 3-0 against Gregg Popovich’s team this season. That’s pretty impressive considering that San Antonio is one of the best teams in the NBA right now. When the Spurs play offense, it’s a beautiful sight to watch. They make great passes to find the best possible shot and every player is unselfish. That’s why they lead the NBA in three-point percentage and bench points per game this season. But let’s get back to Durant. His ability to score points is not the only thing going right for him this year. He made 10-11 free throws last Wednesday night and has shot 88 percent from the free throw line this year. During the five-game win streak, Durant has hit 52 out of 60 free throw attempts. Not only that, but he’s getting better at being a team player. His assists per game have gone up every season. This season he had to run the offense a lot more often with the absence of Russell Westbrook, but Durant has done a great job with that averaging just over five assists per game. He has also gone four straight games with double-digit field goals made. In the twelve games he has played this month, he scored more than 45 points in four of them. That’s just incredible! We haven’t seen scoring outbursts like this since Kobe Bryant’s glory days. Now that you know the stats, you should agree with me that Durant is the frontrunner of the MVP award this year. Sure it’s early and things could happen, but just this month’s performance alone should allow him to win it. Sure other players in the league have had games where they scored 35 points or more multiple times this season, but no one is doing it as consistently as Durant. He is almost unguardable, being six-foot-nine (I’m pretty sure he’s taller than that) and have the shooting stroke that he has. If Durant could keep this performance up in the month of February, then who knows, LeBron James would be old news. But forget about the stats and the hype. The real reason why I’m a Kevin Durant fan is because of his relationship with God. Durant has not only progressed as a basketball player, but also in his Christian walk with the Lord.

“My mom always sat me down and talked to me and I have spiritual teachers that  help me out,” Durant said in an interview with Chad Bonham. “I’m not perfect at all by any means. I’ve got a long way to go to  become closer to the Lord but hopefully I can continue to stay on the path. I  might take a few steps forward and take a couple steps back and take some steps  forward, but I want to get better.” (Credit: beliefnet.com)

And through all the fame and fortune, Durant remembers where he came from and it’s his humilty that has impressed me the most on and off the court.

“In the Bible, it says the Lord exalts humility and that’s one thing I try to  be all the time—when I’m talking in front of people or when people tell me I’m  great, I remind myself that I can always be better. I always work on what I  have now. I’ve just got to be thankful to the Lord for what the gifts He’s given  me. My gift back to Him is to always be humble and to always try to work as hard  as I can. I’ve got to continue to be that way.” (Credit: beliefnet.com)

God has truly blessed Kevin Durant and has given him an unbelivable amount of talent. It’s this kind of God-given talent that can take the Thunder all the way to the NBA Finals this year.

Kevin Durant Scores Career-High 54 points

Kevin Durant is one of my favorite players in the NBA, so to see him go off against the Golden State Warriors last Friday night was a dream come true. The six-foot-nine small forward cashed in a career-high 54 points in a 127-121 win over the Warriors. It was a game that had shootout written all over it. The Splash Bros were knocking down threes all night and the Oklahoma City Thunder kept feeding the ball to their scoring machine, who ended up finishing with the most points he’s ever scored in a single game. The University of Texas product had more field goals made (19) than the rest of the Thunder team combined (18). Some may call it being a ball hawk, but I call it putting the team on your back and winning a tight Western Conference game.

“As the leader of this team, my main objective is to serve my teammates and some nights I have to put it up,” said Durant of his big-time performance. (Credit: nba.com)

Durant was 7-8 in the first quarter and finished the first half 11-14 with 29 points. Some players in the NBA are lucky enough to get those kind of stats in a single game! Durant also finished the game with four rebounds and six assists and shot 68 percent from the field (19-28). The last player to put up numbers like that in a single game was when Michael Jordan did it back on April 3rd, 1988. On top of that, Kevin Durant is leading the NBA in scoring with 30.6 points per game (Carmelo Anthony is 2nd with 26.1). Durant won the NBA scoring title three times in a row from 2010-2012 and it would have been four times in a row if it wasn’t for Carmelo Anthony’s MVP-like performance last year. Durant could easily win it for the fourth time in his career and he’s only 25 years old. The Oklahoma City Thunder is also 3rd in the Western Conference Standings with a 30-10 record and they’re doing it without Russell Westbrook who’s still out with a right knee injury. Could this finally be  the year where Kevin Durant wins the MVP award? Think about it, if you take Kevin Durant away from that team, the Thunder would be an average squad that would be fighting for the playoffs every year. Oklahoma City is a championship contender because of this guy. The Washington D.C. native has always finished second and he’s sick and tired of it. He was the 2nd overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft (he would win Rookie-of-the-Year that season), he finished 2nd in the league for the scoring title last season (he was behind Anthony by .6 points per game and he had a better field goal percentage than him), and he lost to LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the 2012 NBA Finals (that’s when James won his first championship). This year, the Thunder could make it all the way. They would have to go through teams like the Portland Trailblazers, the Houston Rockets, the Los Angeles Clippers, or the San Antonio Spurs to do it, but they can pull it off. Scott Brooks is a fantastic coach and Russell Westbrook is expected to return before the playoffs start. There’s no doubt in my mind that LeBron James is the best player in the NBA right now, but if Durant could get that championship win under his belt, he’ll start making people think twice.